Tyler Wallace knows his job.
The Milton High nose guard also knows the job of the man next to him. And the cornerback, and the safety and every other player on the field.
“We’re going over plays and we’re learning more about them,” Wallace said. “We’re also learning each other’s positions, that way we can better understand and work together as a team.
“We have to keep at it. We have to have a strong mindset so we can keep at it and get our job done.”
With a number of young players on both sides of the ball, the Panthers are banking on the age-old adage that knowledge is power.
“That’s one thing that we did more this year than in the past,” Milton coach Chafan Marsh said. “Understanding the importance of fitting together and not just doing their own game — getting a concept of what we’re trying to do defensively.
“It builds a little bit more camaraderie with the kids. You’re not just out there hitting a dummy — you’re going to the left because you’re brother is going to the right. They’ve done a good job of it. It helps the kids understand.”
And, on this team, understanding your role is critical.
With sophomore quarterback Aubrey Williams at the helm of the offense, the go-to weapon for the Panthers is widely expected to be senior running back Shemar Henderson.
“We’ve got to give him a strong running game,” Marsh said. “We think he’s going to be a good QB, but he’s still young and he’s making strides. We’re excited about his future (but) we’re going to take our time and bring him along.”
“We’re going to be physical. We’re going to run the football and we’re going to be physical.”
Henderson also has faith in the unproven quarterback.
“He knows a lot about the position,” Henderson said of Williams. “I think he’ll be a big factor on our team. (But) I’ve still got to work.
“Got to work harder every day and look out for my offensive line. It ain’t about me, it’s about the whole team. I’m going to try my best to get as many yards as I can get, but either way it’s about us.”
13 in 13 series
•Saturday, Aug. 8: Catholic Crusaders
•Sunday, Aug. 9: Escambia Gators
•Monday, Aug. 10: Gulf Breeze Dolphins
•Tuesday, Aug. 11: Jay Royals
•Today: Milton Panthers
•Thursday, Aug. 13: Navarre Raiders
•Friday, Aug. 14: Northview Chiefs
•Saturday, Aug, 15: Pace Patriots
•Sunday, Aug. 16: Pensacola Tigers
•Monday, Aug. 17: Pine Forest Eagles
•Tuesday, Aug. 18: Tate Aggies
•Wednesday, Aug. 19: Washington Wildcats
•Thursday, Aug. 20: West Florida Jaguars
•Sunday, Aug. 23: Super Seniors
Milton Panthers (4-6 last season)
at Fort Walton Beach
at Pine Forest
*—Denotes District 2-6A game.
Aug. 29 beat Crestview 28-14; Sept. 5 lost to West Florida High 20-7; Sept. 12 beat Fort Walton Beach 48-21;Sept. 19 beat Pensacola High 31-21; Sept. 26 lost to Navarre 42-7; Oct. 3 lost to Washington 21-14; Oct. 10 lost to Catholic 35-26; Oct. 17 lost to Escambia 44-34; Oct. 24 beat Pine Forest 28-26; Oct. 31 lost to Pace 47-7.
Players to watch
Skinny: Look for Henderson to get the bulk of the team’s carries this season after being one of the team’s go-to options last season. In 2014 Henderson gave the team seven TD’s on 363 yards.
Skinny: Wallace returns for a second season to provide athleticism and power to the Panthers defense and could potentially see time on the offense as well, helping to create space for the team’s running game.
Skinny: After racking up 260 yards on 11 catches in the 2014 campaign. Floyd returns to keep defenses honest while complimenting the team’s running game.
Top 3 games
•Aug. 28, vs. Washington: The season opener for the Panthers. Last year the Wildcats defeated Milton 21-14 in the district opener. This season the programs are in separate districts with the possibility of meeting in the region playoffs.
•Sept. 25, at Pine Forest: The Panthers hit the road for the sequel to one of 2014’s most thrilling games. Last season the Panthers hung on late, battling through four overtimes to defeat the Eagles 28-26 at home.
•Oct. 30, at Pace: One of the area’s most storied rivalries adds another chapter as the Panthers travel to cross-town foe Pace while looking to avenge their 47-7 loss from the 2014 season.